Caring for your car is an important step to avoid a costly disaster that can occur due to freezing winter temperatures. When the thermometer dips below zero, it can wreck havoc on your engine if you do not have your vehicle properly winterized. Coupled with that fact, by caring for your car properly and being prepared for the cold, you will insure your safety and you will be better equipped to handle driving hazards while trying to navigate around on treacherous icy roads. Winter tips for automobile owners can save lots of money by preventing frozen engine blocks and by decreasing risk for accidents from decreased visibility and slippery highways. Furthermore, if an accident were to occur, being prepared allows you to be better able to deal with the incident while facing the cold elements outside.
One of the most important tips for caring for your car in the wintertime is caring for yourself. Everyone should go out and buy or make an emergency kit for their car or truck. Amazon sells one that has over 65 different pieces in it for around $42. Make sure that you have a flashlight and plenty of batteries on hand. Better yet, go out and purchase a crank flashlight and you will never have to worry about the batteries being dead when you need them the most. Keep an umbrella in your car for those rainy days that you find yourself broke down on the side of the road. You need to have jump cables with you at all times. You will eventually need them for yourself or for another fellow motorist. Make sure that you keep a gas can in your trunk. If you run out of gas and someone comes along to help you, you will need to have this available. Many people never think about keeping a gas can in their vehicle. So, even if they stop to help you and you don't have one, most of the time they will not have one either. Have a tow rope in case you need to be pulled out of a ditch. Keep a blanket in the trunk as well. This will come in handy on those windy winter days that you are stuck out on the side of the road somewhere beside a broken down vehicle, or one that slid off the side of the road. Put a disposable camera in your emergency kit to capture vehicle damage in case of an accident. All of these winter tips will help you in caring for yourself, as well as, caring for your car.
The next thing that you should do when caring for your car is to inspect and handle the exeterior aspects of your vehicle. Check your tire tread. Is it in good condition? Insert a penny down into a groove of your tire tread and if the raised up part touches Lincoln's head, you are good to go. If not, consider buying snow tires if the winters are really bad in your area. Next, check the tire pressure. When it is freezing outside the air in your tire compresses, when it is warmer it expands. Your tire pressure will change one psi for every 10 degrees change in temperature. Properly inflated tires will enable your tires to maintain better contact with the pavement. This is imperative during freezing rain when the roads are icy and traction becomes an issue. After you have done this, you will need to check your windshield wipers and washer fluid. Proper performance of windshield wipers is very important when visibility becomes an issue during white out times caused by a heavy snowfall. Buy some washer fluid with de-icer in it to prevent an icy buildup. This really comes in handy when you are warming up your vehicle in the morning. Using the wiper fluid will help clear a frosty windshield rather quickly. Keep the gas tank full during winter storm warnings. This is important for when and if you slide off of the road, because as long as you have gas in your tank and your car is running, you will have heat. These are important tips when caring for your car that can be done by even the most mechanic deficient person in the home.
Finally, check under the hood. When caring for your car try pulling out the owners manual and see what the manufacture recommends for oil viscosity in the wintertime. If you have an older vehicle then you may need a thicker oil. Colder air makes thick oil thicker. For proper circulation the oil needs to be thinner. If you are unsure then ask a mechanic the next time that you get your oil changed. Check the battery. Cold air can do a number on your battery. Make sure that the life of your battery is not near expiration. If it is you make want to consider purchasing a new one. Clean around the post with a wire brush to remove any corrosion that may have occurred. While you are under your hood check hoses and belts for any nicks or tares. Last but not least, the most important step that you should take when caring for your car is to make sure that it has the correct amount of antifreeze or coolant in it. If you only have water in it this can freeze and bust the block. If you have had a slow leaky radiator, you should think long and hard about how much the concentration of water to antifreeze has changed over a period of time. The ratio needs to be 50:50. Not only that, but antifreeze that has leaked out onto the ground will kill an animal if they drink it. This is a repair that needs to be made. A radiator is much less expensive than the cost of a new or used motor.
Caring for your car is a very simple task and can be done by almost anyone. With just a few minor fixes and tweaks, your vehicle should do fine and perform well for you during the winter months. I hope that these winter tips will help you to have a safe and happy season.